The Chairs Are Where the People Go

How to Live, Work, and Play in the City

A unique collaboration between Misha Glouberman—a performer and artist—and his friend—the writer Sheila Heti—results in this charming and instructive collection of parables. Heti transcribed and organized Glouberman’s far-ranging and fascinating monologues on topics as diverse as going to the gym, “nimbyism,” charades, impostor syndrome, and more. A lovely book to dip in and out of when the mood strikes.

Reading notes

Making decisions

Sometimes you can learn something by simply investigating a turn of phrase.

There’s a really important thing that sometimes nervous people like me don’t realize—that the expression “to make a decision” is perfectly accurate: a decision is something you create. There’s an inclination to think that with enough research and thinking and conversation and information, it’s possible to determine what the correct decision is; to think that decision making is an intellectual puzzle. But generally it’s not. You make decisions. Something is created when you make a decision. It’s an act of will, not an act of thought.

Glouberman and Heti, The Chairs Are Where the People Go, page 86

This is especially true of the most difficult decisions—the ones where you are taking a risk and simply can’t predict the many ways in which it will play out. A useful perspective for the anxiety-ridden late night hours those decisions tend to inspire.